Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Dec. 6, 2022

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Clark County jobs data shows strength

Number of slots has climbed 2.9% since pandemic began

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
Published:

In the months of July, August and September, Clark County employed 1,400 more people than initial data showed, and the county also added another 800 jobs in January after seasonal adjustments.

It proves the county’s strong economic recovery, outpacing Portland, Washington, Oregon and the country as a whole, according to Scott Bailey, the state’s regional economist for Southwest Washington.

Since the pandemic began, the county has gained a net 5,000 jobs, an increase of 2.9 percent, according to updated numbers released this week. That outpaces the nation (minus 1.8 percent), Washington (minus 1.8 percent), Oregon (minus 2.6 percent) and the Portland metro area (minus 2.9).

Local restaurant jobs are back to pre-pandemic levels, at about 13,600 in January. A year ago, that sector was at 10,200 jobs.

“One of the industries with big upward revision (in the third quarter of 2021) was food services and restaurants,” Bailey said. “What we’re seeing now is that food service employment is basically where it was pre-pandemic. Seasonally adjusted, they’re comparable.”

Bailey said the state doesn’t track where these new jobs are coming from, but he said it’s partly due to population growth.

A couple of economic sectors are still lagging from the pandemic. K-12 public education is down about 500 jobs.

State government and state education are down 400 jobs, “other services” (including hair stylists and auto mechanics) is down about 300 jobs and arts and entertainment are about 500 jobs down.

In January, unadjusted Clark County employment fell by 2,400 jobs to an estimated 173,200.

There were seasonal layoffs in retail trade (minus 1,000 jobs), leisure and hospitality (minus 600 jobs) and construction (minus 400 jobs).

Health care dropped by 200 jobs.

Accommodations and food services lost 200 jobs, likely due to the resurgence of COVID-19, according to Bailey.

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